A recruitment company hiring contact tracers for the Health Service Executive has said there was an "error" in contracts sent to job applicants, described in the Dáil today as "zero-hour" contracts.

In a statement, the company CPL said it was writing to candidates with an amended letter.

CPL said the letter would reassure candidates that the arrangements were on the basis of 37-hour contracts per week over an 11-month period.

It comes after Solidarity-People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that he had received an email from a science graduate, who had applied for a job as a contract tracer and had received a "zero-hour" contract from CPL.

The contract, seen by RTÉ News, states: "There is no obligation on the company to provide you with work and there is no obligation on you to accept the work offered."

It also says "the company gives no guarantee that hours will be offered to you on a weekly basis".

It states that if a person agrees to the nature of the work offered in the contract there may be periods when no suitable work is available.

In relation to sick pay, the contract says: "The company will not make any payment for any day that you do not attend for work."

In the Dáil, Mr Boyd Barrett said the contract included no fixed hours and no sick pay, and could be terminated at any point.

He said this was "shocking" and he said the country could not get back to normality without a professional, well-resourced contract tracing regime.

Mr Boyd Barrett said it was risking lives to try to fight Covid-19 on the back on cheap labour with "rotten conditions" for the workers operating on the frontline.

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Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, he said he is not reassured by the statement that there was an "error" in the contracts sent to job applicants and is seeking more clarification from CPL.

Mr Boyd Barrett said it still does not address the issue of sick pay and unfair dismissals, and there is clarity required regarding the sentence that "the company gives no guarantee that hours will be offered to you on a weekly basis".

He said: "Having a contact tracing regime that works is the only way we will get out of a constant cycle of lockdowns."

He added that "the HSE should give decent proper contracts to highly qualified people" as otherwise they will have difficulty recruiting people.

Mr Boyd Barrett said he has been told by contact tracers currently working in the role, that they are thinking of leaving their jobs while others who were thinking about applying for such roles are looking for work elsewhere.

In a statement tonight, the HSE said that CPL would contact the candidates via email to acknowledge the error and to inform them that it was not intentional in any way.